Team Canada has won its first gold medal of the 2019 World Aquatics Championships in Gwangju, South Korea as Maggie MacNeil of London, Ontario won the gold medal in the women’s 100 metre butterfly. It was one of two medals won by Canadian swimmers on Monday as Sydney Pickrem of Halifax, Nova Scotia won the bronze medal in the women’s 200 metre individual medley.
In the women’s 100 metre butterfly, MacNeil posted an Americas record time of 55.83 seconds. Sarah Sjoestroem of Sweden won the silver medal with a time of 56.22 seconds and Emma McKeon of Australia won the bronze medal with a time of 56.61 seconds. MacNeil reached the podium comfortably by 1.24 seconds. Elena Di Liddo of Italy finished in fourth place with a time of 57.07 seconds.
MacNeil becomes the second Canadian woman to win a gold medal in swimming in the history of the World Aquatics Championships. Kylie Masse of LaSalle, Ontario won the gold medal in world record time in the women’s 100 metre backstroke at the 2017 World Aquatics Championships in Budapest, Hungary.
It was MacNeil’s second career medal at the World Aquatics Championship. On Sunday she was part of the Canadian team that won a bronze medal in the women’s 4×100 metre freestyle relay.
Pickrem won the bronze medal on Monday with a time of 2:08.70. She reached the podium by 0.21 seconds over Melanie Margalis of the United States, who finished in fourth place with a time of 2:08.91. Katinka Hosszu of Hungary won the gold medal with a time of 2:07.53. Shiwen Ye of China won the silver medal with a time of 2:08.60.
Like MacNeil, Pickrem now has won two medals at the World Aquatics Championships. She previously won a bronze medal in the women’s 400 metre medley at the 2017 World Aquatics Championships in Budapest.
One could argue this is the most depth the Canadian women’s swimming program has ever seen. In addition to MacNeil and Pickrem, Canada currently has Canadian Olympic gold medalist Penny Oleksiak of Toronto, Canadian Olympic bronze medalist Taylor Ruck of Kelowna, British Columbia, World Championship bronze medalist Kayla Sanchez of Scarborough, Ontario, and Mare Nostrum silver medalist Kierra Smith of Vancouver, British Columbia. The medals for MacNeil and Pickrem will give them confidence as they prepare for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.